Analysis Of Gwendolyn Brooks's Sonnet-Ballad

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Modern poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, show us that as time progresses certain things change and also in poetry. When comparing her poets to such artists as William Shakespeare, we can see that the during a certain era, even the language of the people in their society can also change. Gwendolyn Brooks was a modern African-American poet from Topeka, Kansas. She was born in June 1917 and died December 2000, living for 83 years. In her lifetime she was known as the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her work (Biography). William Shakespeare was a poet from Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom. He was born in April 1564 and died in 1616, only living for 52 years. During his lifetime, he caused the big shift of culture change during…show more content…
Brooks created a poem called Sonnet-Ballad, immediately states the structure of the poem, that is a modern sonnet and ballad. Although ballads are typically about love or death, Brooks shifts the meaning of this poem which is suppose to be about love but instead has a unique metaphor about death. The ballad introduces a young woman crying about her partner being drafted into the war. She even uses a metaphor comparing her heart to "an empty heart cup" (L 3), to express how heartbroken and empty she feels. Later the thought of cheating while he is in war comes up, but she does not accuse him of cheating with a woman, she accuses him of cheating with death. Since soldiers risk their lives to serve their country, death is vulnerable to them. During the war, she says death flirts with him "Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange/ Possessive arms and beauty (of a sort)" (10 -11). Strangely giving death a personification giving it arms. In other words, death is so near to him that it makes him stammer. In the end, if he manages to come back the war, he will no longer be the same because war has changed him. Most soldiers that survive the war, come back with experiences and situations that they could never take back. Some soldiers come back with disorders such as PTSD, which has a huge impact on their well-being for the rest of their lives. Again, which explains another reason why war has taken her lover away from him, he is gone now. This whole ballad’s metaphor was about…show more content…
The rhyme scheme of Sonnet-Ballad does not change like how classic poems for instance, Sonnet 18, are. Brooks starts the poem with a trochee, which is how any poem starts off the flow of the poem. The meter of her poem is strictly iambic pentameter, 14-lined poem, with a rhythm scheme of ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, CC, ending in a feminine rhyme couplet. She does not use any slant rhymes, but she does use true rhymes, which are “strange” and “change”. She often uses more feminine rhymes than masculine rhymes in her poem. With words such as: “knew”and “untrue”, “happiness” and “guess”, and “yes” and “happiness”; while the masculine rhymes were: “war” and “for”, “more” and “door”, and “court” and“sort”. The rhyme that she uses for her couplet was the two feminine rhymes “yes” and “happiness”. She used an enjambment to jam one line into the next. "Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess/ What I can use an empty heart up for."( 3-4). Sonnet 18 was created in a similar fashion. Same as Brooks, Shakespeare had no slant rhymes nor masculine rhymes but, his poem was strictly iambic pentameter since it was a sonnet. He used true rhyme with words such as “day” and “may”, “fade” and “shade”, and “see” and “thee”. However, he mostly used feminine rhymes throughout the poem. The last two lines of his poem make a turn with the last two couplets concluding in a true
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